Last week, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced nearly $1.7 million in grants to help universities re-envision how they prepare doctoral students for career paths outside the academy. UCSB was one of 28 institutions that received a Next Generation PhD Grant to either plan or implement initiatives that fundamentally rethink how graduate programs prepare doctoral students for the job market after graduate school. UCSB's successful application for the planning grant focused on four different initiatives: (1) cultivating faculty support for the project, (2) considering alternative formats or requirements for the dissertation, (3) developing new courses and curricula, and (4) initiating strategic partnerships.
The grant is a joint project between UCSB's Graduate Division and the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts and is co-directed by Carol Genetti, Graduate Division Dean, and John Majewski, the Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts. When asked about the impact that this grant will have on our campus, Majewski said, "This grant will allow us to have an extensive campus-wide discussion about how to incorporate different types of graduate training and advising that opens up a variety of career paths for students while strengthening their academic training. It is a unique opportunity for us to listen to nationally recognized experts and our highly accomplished alumni so that faculty, administrators, and graduate students can engage in critical conversations about the future of our graduate programs."
Majewski and Genetti will lead a core planning committee comprised of 13 faculty, staff, and graduate students. Throughout 2016-17, the committee will work toward achieving the four initiatives laid out in the proposal through workshops, retreats, and assessments. Next year, UCSB will be eligible to apply for the $350,000 implementation grant from NEH.